JaRon Dent submits letter of resignation

 JaRon Dent thanks a supporter at the April 23 school board meeting. (O’Fallon Weekly File Photo)

O’FALLON – In a special meeting held Wednesday evening, the District 203 Board of Education accepted the resignation of teacher JaRon Dent. 

Dent, who has been on administrative leave for the past two months as the district performs an investigation into him, submitted a short letter to the District stating he was resigning from his position effective May 24, 2019. 

While the school district cannot comment as to the nature of the investigation, documents and reports obtained by the Weekly from the O’Fallon Police Department reveal that the investigation into Dent could revolve around allegations of improper conduct with and grooming of female students. 

The reports detailed a history of text messaging with students and allegations of improper touching. Security footage from the high school obtained by the police showed Dent walking through the halls with his arm around a student. 

While a number of supporters attended the April 23 board meeting and spoke on his behalf, no one was present at the meeting Wednesday night, including Dent or union representatives. 

The board unanimously voted to accept the resignation. 

To read previous article, click here.

Mia Laing earns the Girl Scout Gold Award

O’FALLON – Girl Scouts of Southern Illinois is pleased to announce that Mia Laing from O’Fallon has earned the Girl Scout Gold Award – the highest award a Girl Scout can receive. For her Girl Scout Gold Award project, she created 26 art canvases corresponding with Biblical scriptures representing each letter of the alphabet to help inspire others at her church. 

“I strive to engage people of all ages to find meaning in scripture and to find motivation and a new perspective through the Word of God,” she said. 

Laing mentored younger members of her church to design and paint the canvases, while also discussing their faith together. She then hung the canvases in a church community building, where they could be seen during Girl Scout meetings, as well as by preschool students and visitors at weddings and other community events. She even made a corresponding book for the preschool.

“Youth members have come up to me and said thank you for involving them,” she said. “I saw people engaged and wanting to improve their relationship with Christ.”

Laing noted that, along with helping strengthen her faith community, her Girl Scout Gold Award project helped her grow as a leader as well.

“I learned to always be determined and to keep my head held high,” she said. “Most importantly, I have gained more confidence in myself to be myself in every situation.” 

Mia is the daughter of Mary Beth and Jim Laing. She graduated from O’Fallon Township High School in 2018 and is currently attending Truman State University where she studies Psychology. 

The Girl Scout Gold Award, the highest award a Girl Scout can earn, recognizes a Girl Scout’s commitment to excellence as she develops skills and values to meet present and future challenges in her life. To earn the Girl Scout Gold Award, a Girl Scout Senior or Girl Scout Ambassador must design and carry out a project that fulfills a need within a girl’s community, creates change, and is sustainable.  The project must be completed with a suggested minimum of 80 hours of work.  Only about 5 percent of eligible girls earn the prestigious Gold Award.

O’Fallon to hold annual Memorial Day program

O’FALLON –The City of O’Fallon will hold a Memorial Day Program on Monday, May 27, at the O’Fallon Veterans’ Monument, 737 East Wesley Drive, O’Fallon.  

The guest speaker this year is Major General Samuel Mahaney, Chief of Staff, AMC. There will be participation from the OTHS AFJ ROTC, VFW Post 805, First Baptist Church Adult Choir, and Miss O’Fallon Adriana Scagliarini, among many others. 

The names of 24 newly-inscribed veterans will be introduced at this time.  

The program will be begin at 11:30 a.m. 

Veterans are encouraged to wear their medals and decorations that day.  Please bring your own lawn chairs.  

In case of inclement weather, the ceremony will be held in the First Baptist Church on East Highway 50.

And your OTHS Prom Queen and King are…

The OTHS Prom Queen and King for the 2019 school year is Gabby Brunner and Jordan Ford. 

Gabby Brunner is the daughter of Phil and Carrie Brunner. After high school, Gabby plans on attending Belmont University in Nashville, Tennessee to major in Music business. In 10 years, Gabby sees herself as a successful producer or owning a business in Nashville or Los Angeles, happily married and with a dog or two. Gabby participates as a drum major for the Marching band and as a Hope officer. She is in National Honor Society and plays the French horn in the wind ensemble. She loves her friends, food and dancing. 

Jordan Ford is the son of Jason Ford Senior and Jacqueline Tate. Jordan plans to attend Southwestern Illinois College in the fall. He plans to have a college degree and wants to specialize in carpentry or flipping houses. Jordan participates in FCA, Panther Beat, Ticket for Success and is the manager of the basketball and baseball teams.

Other students recognized for their personalities are: 

Most fashionable: Kayla Miller and Quinn Harris

Biggest flirt: Adriana Scagliarini and Gio Venuti 

Most musically talented: Zoyalyn Stoll and Bennett English

Most school spirited: Olivia Branz and Ryan Anderson 

Most athletic: Ashley Schloer and Dorian Brown 

Most likely to appear on SNL: Madison Brake and Ethan Weld 

Biggest heart: Adler Maher and Mohammed Ashkar

Most artistic: Sydney Osborne and Quinn Harris 

Most connected: Sophia Hoffman and Nolan Bradley 

Most scholastic: Hannah Caraway and Nick Spihlman 

Best smile: Laura Edwards and Mohammed Ashkar

Most well rounded: Adler Maher and Mohammed Ashkar 

Cutest couple: Ashlyn Morris and Ethan Weld

O’Fallon Weekly Photos by Nick Miller

View of the Past: First trolley arrived in O’Fallon from Lebanon in 1903

This week’s view takes us back to Dec. 19, 1903 when the first trolley arrived in O’Fallon from Lebanon.  The MetroLink of its day, the electric streetcar or trolley, known as the interurban, was operated by the East St. Louis and Suburban Railway Co. between Lebanon, O’Fallon, Edgemont and East St. Louis.  Passing through O’Fallon along Second Street, the trolley stopped at Apple, Vine, Lincoln, Cherry and Oak Streets.  It arrived just in time for the 1904 St. Louis World’s Fair with round trip specials from O’Fallon to the fair being offered on Tuesdays and Fridays during that summer for 60 cents, 70 cents from Lebanon.  The trolley was a fixture of O’Fallon life until Nov. 30, 1928 after which it was replaced by buses run by the Blue Goose Motor Bus Co.  The last of the trolley tracks were pulled up in downtown on Feb. 18, 1929.  

Contributed by Brian Keller, O’Fallon Historical Society

For more, stop by the O’Fallon Historical Museum, located at 101 West State Street. The Museum is open Wednesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays, from 1 p.m. until 4 p.m. and by appointment.

Panthers down Lancers in double header

After dealing with several schedule changes and rain outs last week, the OTHS baseball team was able to get in a double header on Friday at Blazier field.  

The Panthers claimed two wins against conference opponent Belleville East.  

Logan Lowery #3 gets a good jump at third base ready to score with Wes Collins at bat (Submitted Photo)

Game one of the double header only lasted five innings with the Panthers taking a 11-1 victory over the Lancers. The offense got an early start with Logan Lowery leading off with a walk and Josh Gibson following up with triple, scoring Lowery. Gibson then scored on a ground ball by Kyle Becker.  

The Panthers tallied five more runs in the second inning with Lowery, Gibson and Wes Collins all driving in runs.  

Ben Koenig was strong on the mound throwing five innings, allowing one run on three hits and striking out six.

Ben Koenig #6 gets the win in 5 innings over Belleville East (Submitted Photo)

O’Fallon defeated East 4-3 in game two of the double header. East had the lead after the first inning, but the Panthers pulled ahead in the second on Drew Tebbe’s line drive single scoring two runs. TJ Morgan also scored in the inning on a passed ball after his walk and two stolen bases bringing the lead to 4-2.  

Luke Gasser started and threw four innings, allowing three runs on four hits and striking out 11. Logan Lowery entered in relief and threw three innings, allowing no hits, no runs and striking out seven. The two Panther pitchers combined for a total of 18 strike outs.

The O’Fallon Panthers improve their record to 17-7 on the season.

New aldermen sworn into office

By Martha Stoffel

O’FALLON – O’Fallon’s new aldermen were sworn in at the beginning of Monday’s meeting by City Clerk Jerry Mouser. 

Five of the newly-elected officials, Ward 1 Dennis Muyleart, Ward 2 Jessica Lotz, Ward 4 Todd Roach, Ward 6 Tom Vorce and Ward 7 Nathan Parchman, are serving their first term as aldermen. Both Ward 5 aldermen, Christopher Monroe and Gwendolyn Randolph, were appointed prior to the election due to the resignation of the prior aldermen during their terms, but were elected to continue their positions. Monroe was elected to fulfill the remainder of a two-year term, and Randolph was elected to a full, four-year term. Ward 3 alderman Kevin Hagarty is the veteran alderman returning to the dais after running unopposed in the April election. 

The council and public received a presentation from Director of Parks & Recreation, Mary Jeanne Hutchison, regarding the May 11th opening and on-going marketing of the Vine Street Market, to be located at O’Fallon Station downtown. The market will include thirty-five vendors each Saturday from May 11 – October 19 from 8:00 a.m. – noon. Hutchison indicated the vendors will change throughout the season. A sponsorship from Avenue Realty Associates will also bring live music to each market day, a performance schedule is located on the O’Fallon Station website. 

Council approved a senior living facility, a new development for the property formerly Vetta Sports and final plat additions for the Illini Trails and Milburn Estates subdivisions. Keystone Place at Richland Creek is a proposed senior living facility to be located at 1050 Fountain Lakes Drive. The proposed development will have fifty-three independent living units, seventy-five assisted living units and twenty-four memory care units. Community Bible Church has filed an application to change the planned use at the old Vetta Sports building located at 590 Hartman Lane. The church will use the existing facility and parking lot for church services, offices and meetings. Their plans include interior changes to create a 7,000 square foot sanctuary, classrooms, and 7,000 square foot fellowship room. They are also planning to make alterations to the exterior, including the addition of a steeple. 

Five resolutions for contracts related to upcoming road projects were also approved Monday night. A contract with Geotechnology for $25,000 and a contract with Rhutasel and Associates, Inc. for $28,000 were approved for engineering services related to the upcoming, summer project for Simmons Road between the Milburn School Road and Porter Road roundabouts. A contract with Lake Contracting, Inc. for $234,852 was approved for various curb and sidewalk replacements to be done throughout the city as part of the 2019 concrete replacement program. A contract with Christ Brothers Asphalt, Inc. for $1,119,941.80 was approved for the 2019 street resurfacing program. The final contract approved was with Sonnenberg Asphalt Co. for $145,740 for parking lot sealing and striping of sixteen different city properties. 

There was some confusion during the April 15th meeting after an amendment was made and approved by council regarding the development known as Advanced Veterinary Center, LLC, to be located at 706 and 800 East Highway 50. It was determined an additional vote was needed at this week’s council meeting to finalize approval of the project. There was some discussion prior to the vote as a sign indicating one of the properties was for lease went up after the April 15th meeting. City Administrator Walter Denton clarified that the property still meets the proposed ordinance, as it will be leased for office space. Denton indicated the applicant was still planning on using the larger property on the east end of the lot as a veterinary clinic. Alderman Jerry Albrecht, Mark Morton, Todd Roach and Dan Witt voted no to approve the project but did not indicate why. 

City Council gets organized and prepares to welcome new members

By Martha Stoffel

O’FALLON – The Committee of the Whole meeting held Monday provided training for aldermen and committee assignments for the next two years. Mayor Herb Roach also announced the city has received the official results from the April 2nd election. Aldermen will be sworn in at the May 6th City Council meeting. 

New committee member assignments are as follows:

• Finance Committee: Chair – Mark Morton, Vice Chair – Nathan Parchman, Chris Monroe, Jessica Lotz, Ray Holden and Dan Witt

• Parks & Environment Committee: Chair – Jerry Albrecht, Vice Chair – Gwen Randolph, Mark Morton, Dennis Muyleart, and Tom Vorce

• Public Works Committee: Chair – Dan Witt, Vice Chair – Ross Rosenberg, Matt Gilreath, Gwen Randolph, Dennis Muyleart, and Todd Roach

• Public Safety Committee: Chair – Kevin Hagarty, Vice Chair – Jessica Lotz, Matt Gilreath, Ross Rosenberg and Chris Monroe

• Community Development Committee: Chair – Ray Holden, Vice Chair – Todd Roach, Jerry Albrecht, Tom Vorce, Nathan Parchman, and Kevin Hagarty

Deputy City Clerk Maryanne Schrader provided the council information on a variety of topics, to include the Open Meetings Act (OMA), Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) and a review of the parliamentary procedure using Robert’s Rules of Order. 

Human Resource Manager April Mitchell reviewed various human resource policies for elected officials, covering topics like gifts, computer and email usage, identity and privacy protection policy, social media, and sexual harassment. Mitchell also covered alderman pay of $200 per council meeting and $125 for a special meeting (like the City Council retreat to be held on June 15th). 

It was also announced at the beginning of the meeting that an additional vote regarding the development known as Advanced Veterinary Center, LLC, to be located at 706 and 800 East Highway 50, will need to be made at the next council meeting. There was some confusion during the April 15th meeting after an amendment was made and approved by council. The final vote on the amended motion was not made, so council will correct the oversight next week. 

District 90 Board of Education swears in new members, elects officers

(O’Fallon Weekly Photo by Annabelle Knef)

O’Fallon District 90 swore in new board member Quennetta Chambers, pictured second to left, at a meeting on Monday, April 29. 

Chambers will be replacing board member Mary Baskett, who retired her position. 

Chambers received 1,511 votes and board members Becky Drury and Rebecca Huller will serve another term on the Board of Education. Drury received 1,720 votes and Huller received 1,644 votes. 

The board also voted on officer positions, re-electing John Wagnon as president, Becky Drury as vice president and Rebecca Huller as secretary. 

Young entrepreneur opens his own snow cone stand

By Kate Crutcher

O’FALLON – During the hours after school, Nicholas Sherman opens up his snow cone stand in his neighborhood. The young entrepreneur began selling the icy treats a few weeks ago after he saw a void in the community.

“I used to go to the big snow cone stand in town, but they closed and moved away. I wanted to bring it back for my neighbors and for myself,” Nicholas Sherman said. 

Each snow cone costs $2 and there are six different flavors to choose from. 

Fortunately, for O’Fallon, Nicholas is planning on being opened during the summer months to share his delicious summer treats, for any customers wanting one.

First National Bank of Waterloo holds spring shred day, donates to food pantry

O’Fallon area residents were lined up to take advantage of First National Bank of Waterloo’s free annual spring shred day event on Saturday, April 13, in the Schnucks parking lot.

Throughout the morning, more than 16,575 pounds of paper were shredded, filling the truck. 

“It is such a secure way to clear the clutter, as well as helping to save the Earth. We also try to use the event to help the community. As part of the shred event, we accept donation items for the O’Fallon Community Food Pantry,” said Laura Mergelkamp, First National Bank of Waterloo’s Marketing Director.

ABOVE: Anita Hall and Ashley Gustin from First National Bank of Waterloo’s Schnucks Banking Center are pictured with the large number of donated items collected for the O’Fallon Food Pantry. Additionally, the bank presented a check for the cash donations they received. 
(Submitted Photo)

The bank also holds an annual fall shred day for those who couldn’t attend the recent event.

Boys Lacrosse captures win on Senior Night

The eight 2019 seniors and their parents celebrate Boy’s Lacrosse Senior Night. (Photo by Scott Gaab)

O’FALLON – Last Friday evening, the O’Fallon Boy’s Lacrosse program recognized and honored its eight 2019 graduating seniors and their parents in front of a home crowd before playing Parkway West. 

For the senior boys, it was a bitter sweet event; however, the future looks bright for these young men. Donovan Balisteri (#33) will be playing junior hockey for the Milwaukee Power,  Josh Bjornson (#11) will be attending Liberty University and majoring in Computer Systems, Nolan Bradley (#10) will be attending Penn State University and studying engineering, Evan Carney (#19) plans on joining the Air National Guard, Brooks Hackney (#21) will be attending Missouri State University,  Gabriel Picato (#12) will be attending college to study mechanical engineering, James Randolph (#25) will be attending Rockhurst University to study civil engineering, and Daniel Walker (#35) will be attending SEMO to study mechanical engineering.

Following the pre-game ceremony, the O’Fallon Varsity Boy’s Lacrosse team captured a win against Parkway West on this honorary night with a score of 12-4. Several Panthers scored to garner the win, but it was a total team effort that resulted in the final score. Josh McIntyre led the scoring with 5 goals, Braden Gaab scored 4 goals and had 2 assists, Nolan Bradley scored 1 goal with 3 assists, and both Evan Carney and Nick Johnson added to the score with a goal each. 

The defense had a strong performance keeping Parkway West off balance.  Goalie, Tommy Fulford, played tough with 7 saves and allowed only 4 goals. The Panthers close out the home-game schedule against Ladue this week.

O’Fallon Panther Junior commits to play for USPHL Florida Eels for the ’19-’20 season

(Submitted Photo)

O’FALLON – O’Fallon’s Grant Miner will soon be heading to Florida to play for the USPHL Florida Eels during their 2019-20 season. 

Miner has been playing hockey for the past nine years and has been a part of O’Fallon Panther Hockey since he was an eighth grader. 

Wearing number 48, Miner is a junior forward. From watching hockey on side lines at a Junior’s game when he was six, to getting on the ice and actually playing the sport, Miner is now living out his life long dream of pursuing hockey at a new level.  

“From watching the sport as a child and wanting to play it, to actually getting to play it, hockey has been a long dream of mine. The decision to play for the Florida Eels wasn’t too hard to make, since hockey has been my dream, since I was six. I am looking forward to meeting new people and having a different hockey experience, than playing at a high school level,” Miner said.

All his team members and coaches will miss him, but wish him luck during the next hockey season. 

OTHS boys track wins St. Clair County Championship

(Submitted Photo)

The OTHS boys track team are the St. Clair County Champions for the second year in a row.

The team won the event on Tuesday, April 23, beating out many of the area’s best athletes. 

Will VanAlstine, Chris Wichlac, Nick Novy, Alex Tillock won first place in the 4×800, while Rod Williams, Alex Tillock, Taylor Lehman, Ryan Somraty took first in the 4×400. 

Additionally, Dorian Brown won first in the 100m, Will VanAlstine in the 1600m, and Christian Wallace in the 400m.

The Panthers also had a number of second place finishes. Rod Williams brought home the silver in the long jump, Nick Farmer placed second in shot put and discus, and Brendan Krell won second in the 3200m.

(Submitted Photo)

Will Ray won third in the 3200m, while Dewan Brown, Tamarion Bivines, Taylor Lehman, Tevion Holmes placed third in the 4×200. 

“We had an exceptional day across the board. Many athletes and relays ran season best or personal best times. The top finishes are always nice, but every point is important. We have a young group that continues to improve. They are great kids to work with and it is a blast to watch them win something that is important to them. The distance group really showed up well today by winning the 4×800 and placing two in both the 1600 and 3200m runs. All in all it was a great day,” said Coach Joe Speaks.

View of the Past: A wintry scene in downtown O’Fallon in 1930

This week’s view is a slushy wintry scene, ca. 1930, taken at the corner of State and Lincoln, looking east, in downtown O’Fallon.  On the right in the foreground is the First National Bank, now home to the history museum.  Just beyond it on the corner is Bittles Drug Store.  On the left is Allen’s Stop & Shop Market, now home to Gia’s Pizza, with Schildknecht’s grocery store on the corner in the background.  

Contributed by Brian Keller, O’Fallon Historical Society